McDonald's had its best month in nearly a decade in September

Same-store sales hit double digits last month, and 4.6% in 3Q, thanks to the Travis Scott meal and Spicy Chicken McNuggets.
McDonald's Sales
Photograph: Shutterstock

It’s probably safe to say McDonald’s Travis Scott promotion was a success.

The burger giant’s promotion with the hot-selling musician, along with the introduction of Spicy Chicken McNuggets, helped the chain’s same-store sales hit double digits in September.

The Chicago-based company said on Thursday that its same-store sales increased 4.6% in the third quarter ended Sept. 30. 

That included “low double digit” increases in September, the company’s strongest month in nearly a decade and the result of what McDonald’s said was “promotional activity.”

That activity featured back-to-back marketing promotions that were both successful. The $6 Travis Scott Meal generated a rare amount of hype for the typically staid company—customers were seen stealing posters from McDonald’s restaurants to sell them on eBay, where people could also find receipts for the meal on auction.

The meal sold so well that many restaurants ran out of ground beef, bacon and even lettuce—the meal featured a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, lettuce and bacon, along with fries and a Sprite.

McDonald’s followed that up with a limited time offer of Spicy Chicken McNuggets. The company ran out of that product on occasion, too.

McDonald’s same-store sales have been improved in the U.S. largely because of the chain’s drive-thrus, which have thrived during the pandemic. It was a different story internationally, where same-store sales fell 4.4% in its larger international operated markets, featuring countries like the U.K., France, Canada and Australia. Its developing international markets saw same-store sales decline 10.1%.

Globally, same-store sales fell 2.2%.

McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski said the performance “demonstrates the underlying resilience of the McDonald’s brand.” He cited the company’s “unrivaled drive-thru presence around the world, advanced delivery and digital capabilities, and marketing scale” which have been “even more important during the pandemic.”

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Brands need to think creatively as the industry heads into a value war

The Bottom Line: Giving customers meal options they can afford will be key to generating traffic this year. But make sure those offers can generate a profit.


The Red Lobster bankruptcy is a seminal moment for the restaurant business

The Bottom Line: The seafood chain’s bankruptcy declaration was not surprising after months of closures and Endless Shrimp recriminations. But that doesn’t make it any less notable.


The White House has ideas about how all that AI on the Show floor should be used

Reality Check: President Biden issued a set of guidelines Thursday for protecting workers from the digital onslaught.


More from our partners